Capt continues the winning run, but falters in battle of prestige
When chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh was asked just two days after the announcement of the bypolls to four assembly seats last month whether these could be seen as people’s verdict on the first half of his term, he replied in the negative, saying that three of these were opposition seats.
On Thursday, his party romped home on three — Jalalabad, Phagwara and Mukerian — of them, continuing its winning run in the state since its return to power with a two-thirds majority in March 2017. The CM and other Congress leaders lost no time in claiming the poll outcome to be a victory of their government’s development policies and programmes.
But the ruling party lost the hotly contested Panthic seat of Dakha assembly constituency in which Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali trounced Congress’ Sandeep Singh Sandhu, a political aide of the CM, by over 14,000-odd votes despite its whatever-it-takes effort. Amarinder, whose personal prestige was at stake in the constituency, had taken out two roadshows to bolster the prospects of his former political secretary as against one each in the remaining three segments. The seat was earlier held by HS Phoolka, the first-time MLA of the Aam Aam Party (AAP).
The bypoll results have taken the Congress tally to 80 in the 117-strong state assembly. Though conventional wisdom suggests that the ruling parties have a distinct advantage in bypolls, the Congress victories in three segments, particularly its impressive showing in Jalalabad, which was represented by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal till he got elected to Lok Sabha five months ago, are surely a big fillip for the CM. The lacklustre SAD-BJP and disarray in AAP worked to its advantage.
The Congress had trailed in all four assembly constituencies during the recently held parliamentary polls. Of the three seats the ruling party has won, two, Phagwara and Jalalabad, were held by the BJP and SAD. The electoral history of these segments also did not favour the Congress as it had won these seats only one time in the last five elections.
The Congress plans to win 130 seats in next year's Karnataka assembly election but seems still not be able to present a united front with senior leaders vying to be seen as next in line for the chief minister's post, leaving workers confused. News agency ANI quoted a senior leader as saying a 'damage control' policy is needed right now.
According to official data, six friends who had gone for a picnic in Ajnoi forest of Sheopur were struck by lightning. Of those, Ramabharat Adiwasi, Dilip Adiwasi and Mukesh Adiwasi, all in their early 20s, died on the spot, while Dayaram Adiwasi, Satish Adiwasi and Somdev Adiwasi were seriously injured and admitted to Gwalior Medical College.
Auto-rickshaw drivers in Maharashtra's Thane district put up a banner of Eknath Shinde in front of the civic body headquarters on Thursday to extend their support towards the state's new chief minister. The banner was put up in front of the Thane Municipal Corporation's (TMC's) headquarters with about 100 auto drivers taking part in a gathering. The drivers also stuck stickers with the above slogan on their autos.
BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh allegedly made some remarks on Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's family during an interaction at an event organised by a leading media group. The BJP leader said the Bengal CM referred to herself as “Banglar meye (daughter of Bengal)” before the Assembly elections in the eastern state in 2021, and later during her visit to Goa, called herself the “daughter” of the coastal region.
The Bengaluru residential real estate market remained undeterred by the Omicron wave of Covid-19 with a 34 per cent year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter of 2022, a report by global consultants Knight Frank said. Residential real estate prices were, in fact, highest in Bengaluru - a 7 per cent YoY increase, followed by a 5 per cent increase in Pune and a 4 per cent increase in Mumbai.